"Cocktail Culture: Ritual and Invention in American Fashion, 1920-1980"
Hmmm, what would one wear when one was off to a social gathering that centered on effervescent imbibing and the exchange of ideas both large and small? The answer to that question changed many times during the 20th century, but “Cocktail Culture: Ritual and Invention in American Fashion, 1920-1980” should remind you of several retorts. The apparel that comprises the new exhibit at the RISD Museum, 224 Benefit Street, Providence, accounts for the myriad turns made by designers and fashionistas from the speakeasy culture of the ’20s to the leisure suit era of the ’70s (good thing they stopped at the ’80s — I’d hate to see the ironic T-shirts repping the Pabst Blue Ribbon mindset of the late ’90s slacking boho). “The show traces the influence of the cocktail hour on fashion and design in the 20th century, from the Flapper of Prohibition to the ultra-feminine dresses of post-WWII to the spangled pantsuit of the disco era, and the accompanying designs for shakers and glasses,” says Ann Woolsey, the Museum’s interim director. “The exhibition offers perspective on the current resurgence of interest in all things cocktail.” Arden, Chanel, Dior, de la Renta, and other biggies are present and accounted for. Be on the lookout for iconic totems that mark each turn, such martini shakers, tie-dye shirts, and the forever-chic little black dress. The show runs through July 31
An exhibit with more than 200 objects, including decorative art such as barware and furniture, and graphic arts, photography, and advertising, with examples of cocktail attire by Cristobal Balenciaga, Pierre Balmain, Geoffrey Beene, Pierre Cardin, Hattie Carnegie, Coco Chanel, Ceil Chapman, Oscar de la Renta, Christian Dior, Jacques Fath, James Galanos, Hubert de Givenchy, Halston, Mr. John, Sally Victor, Jeanne Lanvin, Yves Saint Laurent, Claire McCardell, Norman Norell, Jean Patou, Elsa Schiaparelli, Pauline Trigere, and other designers